If you want to transform your room and add elegance, an orchid bloom is a great option. It gives you vibrant colors that make the eyes pop. Orchids have a bad reputation, but they’re easy to maintain inside the house.
You have to handle them correctly and keep them healthy. Today, you’re going to learn how to do that. Ultimately, you’re going to find out about lighting, bloom cycles, and other ways to care for your indoor orchids.
Table of Contents
Know What Type of Orchids You Have
You can’t care for your orchids correctly if you don’t know which one you have. Orchids have over 28,000 species with 100,000 hybrids.
Many homeowners want them in their houses because they can remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from the air. Plus, they come in various colors.
Most orchids grow naturally when they are anchored to a tree. They get the nutrients and moisture they require from the rain and air in the tropics.
Typically, orchids only bloom a few times a year, but the flowers can last up to 45 days. This depends on the type, but most orchid plants can live for decades with the right care. You’re most likely to encounter Cattleya, Cymbidium (boat orchids), Dendrobium, and Phalaenopsis (moth orchids).
Know the Orchid Bloom Cycle
You’re most likely to focus on the bloom cycle of an orchid because that’s the dramatic part. The blooms pop up once a year, and this often happens in winter. They can last many months, but 30 to 45 days is the average.
Sometimes, an orchid can bloom again in the same year if you cut the last spike about ½ inch below its node. This requires you to monitor the plant for about three months.
Most orchids rest during the winter months when the blooms pop out. To keep them going longer, use less water.
Care When In Bloom
When the orchid is blooming, it requires specific care instructions. You want to keep the flowers looking their best for as long as possible. If you follow these tips, you can extend the orchid blooms for a few months and enjoy them:
- Make sure your home’s temperature doesn’t go above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4°C).
- Don’t suddenly move your plant because your plant is accustomed to that much light and the temperature.
- Maintain your current watering schedules; don’t miss a day.
- You shouldn’t repot a blooming orchid; wait until it’s finished blooming.
- Large orchids require more support because they have longer stems. You can use a stake in the soil and attach some small clips to help the stem stay upright. This is also going to help the blooms stay on the plant while they emerge.
Care After Blooming
Once the bloom cycle has finished, your orchid automatically goes dormant. This is its natural resting period, and it’s completely normal.
The blooms are going to start wilting, and they quickly fall from the orchid. Don’t be alarmed if the spike turns brown.
Ultimately, the leaves may appear to lose their shine. On top of that, the mature leaves might go yellow.
You’re going to think that the plant isn’t healthy, but it is! Overall, the orchid is using this time to strengthen its root system. That way, it can grow new leaves and rebuild itself.
Just wait a few months and try not to worry. Your orchid is soon going to be ready for another bloom cycle and growth spurt!
Repot Them Correctly
Your orchid never stops growing, so it’s bound to outgrow the pot. Sometimes, you may experience old potting soil, which breaks down when you rub it together.
Old mixtures can hold more moisture. Ultimately, this is bad for the orchid because it can cause it to get waterlogged. When that happens, the roots don’t get enough oxygen, and they rot.
It’s best to repot your orchids every year or two. Use a container that’s about 1 or 2 inches larger than the current pot. Also, take the time to look at the root system to figure out which planter is the right size.
We recommend that you have many different container sizes. That way, you can take a quick look at the roots and easily find the right pot. If you put the orchid back into the same pot, it could die.
How to Repot Your Orchid
1. Make sure that you put the current potted orchid into a bucket of room temperature water for about 15 minutes.
2. Remove the orchid from its container and gently trim the old roots. Use a sharp pair of scissors or a prune for this.
3. Get rid of any yellowed or dried leaves. Gently remove the potting medium that’s attached to the roots. You may not get all of it, but try to get most of it.
4. Position the roots in the new container to make sure it fits.
5. While holding the orchid, make sure the lowest leaves are just above the lip of your new pot. Add potting medium (soil) to the lower leaves. Do not press the soil too firmly.
Light Requirements for Orchids
Light is probably the most important thing for an orchid. You should know that insufficient light isn’t going to kill your plant. However, if there isn’t enough sunlight, the orchid is never going to bloom.
Most homeowners want the blooms and feel like that’s the best part of orchid ownership. Therefore, it’s important to give your plant enough sunlight.
Orchids tend to need at least six hours of daylight. However, they don’t like direct sunlight. This is a bit odd, and many people mistakenly set their orchids in a windowsill with the sun shining on it.
It’s often best to put your orchid in a sunny location that faces east or south. We recommend that you install a sheer curtain over the window to give it some shade. This is the ideal lighting for your orchid plant.
However, some orchid varieties are classified as “low-light”, “medium-light”, or “high-light”. This indicates the light intensity they require to bloom.
High-light orchids require 3,000 foot-candles of light. However, low- and medium-light varieties can deal with 1,000 to 1,500 foot-candles. For reference, one foot-candle equals one lumen for each square foot.
If you don’t have sufficient natural light, you can use a grow light. This is going to help you give your orchid plenty of lighting. However, high-light versions may require high-intensity grow lights to bloom correctly.
What You Can Do
Pay attention to the orchid’s leaves to see if it’s getting enough light. When an orchid has sufficient light, the leaves are a light or medium green and have yellow tones to them.
If you notice that the leaves are dark in color and lush, this means it has insufficient light. Though the color might be pretty, it’s not healthy for blooming. Orchids with white or bleached leaves are getting too much direct sunlight and should be moved or shaded.
Move your new orchids to different lighting conditions until you find what works for them. You may also have to switch them to other areas of the house when the seasons change. Make notes of everything you do and identify the right options for blooming.
You can also invest in other light sources. That way, you can keep the plant where you want it, and it is still going to bloom.
How Much Water and Humidity for Orchids
An orchid naturally grows when its roots are exposed to air. However, they also need to get water from rain and whatever humidity is there.
For these reasons, you don’t have to water your orchid as much as you do with other houseplants. It’s actually bad for them if you water them too much.
Most orchids require humidity of at least 50 percent (and some need more) to bloom. Typically, homes have much less than that.
What You Can Do
Water your orchid once a week. They should thoroughly dry out between watering. In fact, it’s better to water them less than giving them too much.
Place your orchid in a humid area, such as the kitchen or bathroom. You can also increase the humidity near your plants with a humidifier. Sometimes, it helps to group your orchids with other moisture-loving plants.
If you don’t have a humid environment, you can create one. Just use a flat, long tray and fill it with dark-colored pebbles.
Put the orchid pots on the pebble bed and pour water on the stones until it almost reaches the top. Make sure that you keep the tray wet so that the air around the orchid is moist. This gives your plant the right amount of humidity and can be an attractive option for showing them off.
What Temperature Do Orchids Need?
You should consider many factors when focused on the right temperature for your orchid. Typically, orchids don’t handle temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32°C) very well.
They’re often classified as cool-growing, warm-growing, or intermediate-growing. This indicates the lowest overnight temperature they can handle.
Warm-temperature orchids require an overnight temperature of at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5°C). Alternatively, cool-growing orchids can handle 50-degree temperatures (10°C) with ease.
Most orchids are used to experiencing big changes between the night-time and daytime temperatures. This can go up to 10 degrees, and most people don’t have that problem in their houses.
What You Can Do
Make sure that your orchid stays out of direct sunlight. However, you should also keep the plant away from peak temperatures if they go higher than 90 degrees (32°C).
It’s also important to ensure that they don’t get cold overnight. However, you can’t keep them at a stable temperature 24/7, or they aren’t going to thrive and bloom.
If you’ve got a sickly orchid, an overnight temperature drop isn’t going to help it. However, if you’ve got a healthy orchid and want it to thrive, consider lowering the thermostat at night so that it can cool off.
What Kind of Fertilizer to Use for Orchids
In general, orchids fare better with less fertilizer than too much. However, you should feed them with a fertilizer designed for orchids.
We recommend a 10-10-10 formula. This means it has equal parts of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Make sure that the fertilizer doesn’t contain urea.
What You Can Do
You should buy a water-soluble fertilizer. Make sure it’s diluted to roughly ¼ its strength, and use it weekly when you water the plant.
Don’t use fertilizer on a dry orchid. Moisten the roots first so that the plant soaks up the nutrients.
With appropriate care, your orchid is going to bloom at least once a year, but it could go three times. It’s a good idea to find out what orchid species you have. That way, you know its flowering frequency, watering requirements, and light needs.
Once you’ve figured out the best care regimen for your orchid, you know what to do. That way, you can experience the fragrance and beauty of them all year long.
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